If it’s broke, fix it

April 9, 2015

Fred Inglis claims that “nobody provides any account of what to do, of how to prevent an ideologically demented and morally unprincipled government and its stooges from turning an internationally celebrated university system into the third-rate business practice now typical of so many failed, privatised British enterprises, three-quarters sold off overseas in any case” (“Thoughts unbecoming”, Features, 26 March). Well, I do.

First, keep remuneration linked to the entrant’s salary and ensure that the most senior professor cannot earn more than double what a lecturer takes home. Also, ensure that no manager earns as much as a professor. Participants in a community of teachers and scholars should not be attracted primarily on the basis of remuneration.

Second, keep decision-making within the academic bodies of the institution. Any vote of no confidence should lead to a vacancy in any leadership position and the need for a replacement. Autonomy of decision-making and protection from business-type financial pressures are key to promoting an independent, vigorous and critical academic environment.

Third, funding for research laboratories should remain the primary responsibility of the institution and departments. “Competitive” (read special interests, club members and so forth) funding via the grants system should be reduced to allow certain expensive projects to proceed, either individually or through collaborations, but should be only for projects that cannot be supported through the block grants to the public institutions.

Fourth, evaluations and reporting should be reduced drastically. Appointments should come after stringent evaluations and the same holds for promotions. In addition, the problems of the “constant evaluation” schemes largely obscure any apparent “rise in productivity” and distort many vital academic functions. What works is the promotion of an ethical standard among colleagues with only a gentle mixture of carrots and sticks within the system.

Fanis Missirlis
Via timeshighereducation.co.uk

Times Higher Education free 30-day trial

You've reached your article limit

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 3 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments
Register

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Featured Jobs

Post-doctoral Research Associate in Chemistry

University Of Western Australia

PACE Data Support Officer

Macquarie University - Sydney Australia

Associate Lecturer in Nursing

Central Queensland University
See all jobs

Most Commented

women leapfrog. Vintage

Robert MacIntosh and Kevin O’Gorman offer advice on climbing the career ladder

Woman pulling blind down over an eye
Liz Morrish reflects on why she chose to tackle the failings of the neoliberal academy from the outside
White cliffs of Dover

From Australia to Singapore, David Matthews and John Elmes weigh the pros and cons of likely destinations

Mitch Blunt illustration (23 March 2017)

Without more conservative perspectives in the academy, lawmakers will increasingly ignore and potentially defund social science, says Musa al-Gharbi

Michael Parkin illustration (9 March 2017)

Cramming study into the shortest possible time will impoverish the student experience and drive an even greater wedge between research-enabled permanent staff and the growing underclass of flexible teaching staff, says Tom Cutterham